Friday, March 8th, 2013
A Florida woman found herself in the unusual position earlier this week of receiving an email from her obstetrician in which the doctor threatened to send police to her home if she refused to come to the hospital for an immediate cesarean section to deliver her fifth child. Lisa Epsteen had delivered her four previous children by cesarean, but had enlisted the help of Dr. Jerry Yankowitz, chairman of the University of South Florida’s department of obstetrics and gynecology, to attempt the high-risk process of vaginal-birth-after-cesarean (VBAC).
Epsteen was ultimately able to schedule her surgery for March 8, as she wanted, days after she received the email from Yankowitz stating, according to the Tampa Bay Times:
“I am deeply concerned that you are contributing to a very high probability that your fetus will die or your child will incur brain damage if born alive. At this time, you must come in for delivery,” Yankowitz wrote.
“I would hate to move to the most extreme option, which is having law enforcement pick you up at your home and bring you in, but you are leaving the providers of USF/TGH no choice,” he continued.
After contacting advocacy groups, Epsteen was able to delay the surgery and avoid police action. The Times reports:
Yankowitz was frank with Epsteen about the risks she faced after four caesareans, she said. They met multiple times during her pregnancy, and he stayed in touch by email.
In their last meeting on Friday, she said he urged her to think about his recommendation that she have a caesarean. Epsteen had developed gestational diabetes, another risk factor, plus the baby was not in a good position for a vaginal delivery.
When an ultrasound Tuesday showed the fetus in possible distress, other USF physicians sent her directly to Tampa General and wanted to deliver right then.
But she questioned their alarm. Besides, she couldn’t leave her 2-year-old son with strangers. She was driving the family’s only car, so her husband, a team leader at a call center, couldn’t get to her.
“In Dr. Yankowitz’s defense, and all of the other physicians there, I don’t think they are trying to cover themselves. I think they really do have the best interests of my child and myself at heart,” she added. “On the other hand, this is not the way to go about protecting my baby or me.”
Yankowitz was named the USF chair of obstetrics and gynecology in late 2010. He is one of the few doctors in the nation who is doubly certified in genetics and maternal fetal medicine, according to the USF website. His areas of expertise include ultrasound diagnostics.
After the lawyer got involved, Yankowitz sent a subsequent email saying he wouldn’t send law enforcement to Epsteen’s home. “I personally recognize and respect your right to make the medical treatment decisions for both you and your unborn child. . . . In that regard, please understand my frustration as I truly believe you and your child are in jeopardy.”
Friday, September 21st, 2012
A Florida mother is saying she has no regrets for accosting a child who was bullying her son, even though the incident was caught on camera and the mom is facing child abuse charges as a result. NBC News has more:
“I mean, I really, honestly can’t say I won’t do it again,” Felecia Phillips, 35, of Bunnell, Fla., told NBC Orlando affiliate WESH.com of Wednesday morning’s fight. ”I just wanted him to leave my son alone, you know? What’s the problem?”
The trouble began on Tuesday, according to Phillips, when her 15-year-old son, Terez Smith, got beat up at Flagler Palm Coast School by a friend of the teen she confronted on the bus, 17-year-old Justin Mickens.
Worried about her son’s safety, Phillips decided to accompany Smith on Wednesday to the bus stop. Before the students even got on the bus, Phillips and Mickens began to argue, and Phillips pushed the teen, witnesses told deputies. Phillips believes Mickens was behind the attack on her son.
“Words kept going back and forth or whatever, and he called me out,” Phillips said. “And I smooshed him in his face or whatever.”
Mickens slammed Phillips to the ground as the bus arrived, deputies said. Phillips then allegedly followed him onto the bus, grabbing his hair as the bus driver yelled that she needed to get off the bus and other students tried to stop the brawl.
Image: School bus, via Shutterstock
Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
A 12-year-old boy from near Pensacola, Florida is being hailed as a hero after saving his four younger siblings from their burning house, MSNBC.com reports.
Justin Jackson says he was watching over his three brothers and one sister when a fire broke out inside their home in Milton, Fla., on Sunday evening, NBC station WPMI-TV in Mobile, Ala., reported. His mom was working the night shift at a nursing home and his father had been away on business, according to local media reports.
“If he wasn’t here, we would not be alive,” Justin’s 9-year-old brother, Emilio Jackson, told WPMI-TV. “I love him all the way to the universe and back.”
A storm knocked out power to the neighborhood and the children had used a few candles to light up the house, according to WPMI-TV.
Justin said he was awakened by thunder and lightning, and then saw smoke. He leaped into action, grabbing his three brothers, including Diego, 6, and William, 5, WPMI-TV reported.
“I just picked them up and took them outside and I was knocking on neighbor’s doors but none of them came out,” Jackson told WPMI-TV.
Jackson said he ran back into the fire and kicked down the door to get his 3-year-old sister, Brooklynn.
“I was worried that I was not going to get my little sister out of there,” Justin told WPMI-TV. “I had to pick her up and she was real stiff, I was just real scared at that point.”
After saving his sister, Justin said he dashed back into the burning home a third time to call 911.
Image: Fire truck, via Shutterstock.
Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
An unarmed Florida teenager who was shot and killed by a man doing a Neighborhood Watch patrol has become a symbol of the perseverance of racial profiling in the U.S. Seventeen year-old Trayvon Martin, who was African American, was killed by volunteer George Zimmerman as Martin walked from a convenience store to a friend’s home. Zimmerman called the police to report his suspicions of Martin, but the police reportedly told him to stop following Martin. Moments later, the 911 call records the fatal shot being fired.
According to NPR.org, Zimmerman is claiming that he acted in self-defense after he and Martin got into an argument. But the story has garnered national attention because of the racial profiling allegedly at play. From NPR:
At the Orlando Sentinel, which has extensive coverage, there’s a story that notes how — beyond the issue of profiling — “if George Zimmerman didn’t break every rule in the book when it comes to Neighborhood Watch programs, he came close. … Zimmerman was armed. He was alone. And while waiting for police, he somehow got into a fight with the person he thought suspicious. All three of those actions are strongly discouraged by the National Sheriffs’ Association, which oversees about 20,000 Neighborhood Watch programs.”
Zimmerman, 28, has not been charged with a crime. According to The Associated Press, “in the months leading up to the shooting, [he] had called police numerous times to report incidents.”
Trayvon’s parents have put an online petition on Change.org, looking for support in their call for Zimmerman to be charged.
Image: Neighborhood watch sign, via Shutterstock.
Monday, June 13th, 2011
Florida’s governor, Rick Scott, signed a law this month making the state the first to prohibit doctors–including pediatricians–from asking patients or patients’ parents whether they own a gun. Doctors who do ask such questions are subject to discipline by the state’s medical board. Several other states are considering similar proposals, according to an article published in The Boston Globe.
Pediatricians often counsel patients on safety issues, chiefly around swimming pools, household chemicals, bicycle safety…and guns. The Globe cited statistics that support this practice:
The idea that firearms are out of bounds for doctors, who are committed to preventing illness and injury, is preposterous, opponents said. Between 2003 and 2007, the most recent years for which data are available, 152,519 people were killed by firearms, including more than 15,000 children and teenagers, according to a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention database that collects information from death certificates.
Gun rights groups, including the National Rifle Association, supported the bill on the grounds that it protects a family’s right to privacy. “You have a right to seek medical care without being interrogated about the private property that you own,” Marion Hammer, executive director of Unified Sportsmen of Florida and a former National Rifle Association president, told the Florida Times-Union newspaper in January.
What do you think about this new Florida law, and about the rights of doctors to advise patients on gun safety?
(image via: http://ohmdkids.org)